October 20, 2017

Divine Authority and Christ

By Connie W. Adams

God, as creator, has ultimate authority over everything created. Paul said on Mars Hill that "God made heaven and earth and all things therein": and then concluded by saying "he has appointed a day in which he will judge the world"(Acts 17:24-31). When we say "God created" we must include Jesus Christ in that. "Let us make man" (Gen. 1:26) is in the plural. Elohim (God) is plural is form. "In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him and without him was not anything made that was made" (John 1:1-3). "For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him" (Col. 1:16).

That "word" which was with God and was God, "became flesh and dwelt among us" (John 1:14). "Great is the mystery of godliness, God was manifest in the flesh" (1 Tim. 3:16). The greatest evidence for the existence of God is the fact that God came in the person of Jesus Christ. The historical Jesus can be explained on no other basis than the fact that he was divine, as he claimed to be. While he took upon himself the form of a servant, he did not give up the qualities which made him deity. He was "Immanuel, God with us" (Matt 1:22-23). Two things are of note in that statement. (1) He was "with us." He dwelt, or tabernacled among men and they beheld his glory (John 1:14). In the flesh he was subjected to the experiences common to flesh. He "suffered in the flesh." But (2) he was God in the flesh. He did not cease being deity. He was at once the "Son of man" and the "Son of God."

The Promised Lawgiver

Peter said, "For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people" (Acts 3:22-23).

Peter was quoting Deuteronomy 18:18-19. No wonder on the mount of transfiguration the voice of the Father sounded and said, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him" (Matt 17:5). And no wonder that when the three apostles with him heard this "they fell on their face, and were sore afraid" (v. 6). In Christ, the lawgiver had come and the challenge went forth, "Hear him."

The Superior Spokesman

There is a progression in the book of Hebrews which begins in the first verse and reaches a climax in 12:25. "God, who at sundry times and divers manners spake unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son" (Heb. 1:1-2). What a blessing that the God who formed the world has spoken. The natural world testifies to his "eternal power and Godhood" (Rom. 1:20), but without God speaking to man, he could not know what direction God wanted him to take. How did God speak? He spoke to the fathers in direct terms, in dreams and visions. He spoke to the Israelites through prophets. They were often referred to as "My servants the prophets." What a noble lot they were: Moses, Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, and a number of lesser known men who faithfully spoke God's word to the people of their time. But great as these were, none was equal to God's spokesman in these last days.

Leaving the realm of human spokesmen and entering that of a heavenly sphere in which angels serve as divine messengers, even there, God's spokesman now is far above all of these. The law of Moses was given by the "disposition of angels" (Acts 7:53). It was "the word spoken by angels" (Heb. 2:2). Whether Michael, Gabriel, or unnamed heavenly messengers, all diminish in grandeur when placed beside God's spokesman for these last days. Never to an angel did the Father say "Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee" (1:5). When he brought his Son into the world he said, "And let all the angels of God worship him" (1:6) It was the Father who said of the Son, "Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever" (1:8). It was of the Son that the Father said that when the world is ready to be folded up like a garment, God's spokesman will remain the same. His years shall not fail (1:10-12). It is that same spokes-man who is now seated at the right hand of the Father (1:13). He has "all power in heaven and on earth" (Matt 28:18).

No wonder the warning is sounded about giving heed to what he said and not drifting away from it (2:1-4). Then in chapter 12:25, the climaxing appeal is made: "See that ye refuse not him that speaketh." "God has spoken in his son." Don't refuse what he said! Such refusal comes at the peril of the soul. Jesus said, "Except ye believe that I am he, ye shall die in your sins" (John 8:24). The Confirmed Word Jesus said "If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not" (John 10:37). John said of the miracles of Christ which he recorded, "These are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name" (John 20:31). On Pentecost, Peter preached, "Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs" (Acts 2:22).

It is not enough to declare Jesus Christ a good man, an able teacher, a noble philosopher. If he was not the Son of God, not the word made flesh, then he was a false prophet for he claimed all that and more. Good, noble teachers do not practice deception. Any philosophy built on deception and fraud is useless. No, my friends, Jesus Christ was Emmanuel - God with us. The creator condescended to live for awhile among the creatures. What he said will judge us in the last day, that day of judgment to which Paul referred in Athens and to which he connected the thought that "God made the heavens and earth and all things therein."

"He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day" (John 12:48). You cannot refuse Christ and his word and still honor the creator of everything. (More To Come)

Guardian of Truth XL: 8 p. 3-4
April 18, 1996

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